Sifelani Tsiko Agric, Environment & innovations Editor
Zimbabwe will require about US$7,88 billion by 2030 to support mitigation measures aimed at strengthening local resilience to the impact of climate change in the country, a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) climate expert says.
Tafadzwa Dhlakama, a climate change project coordinator with the UNDP told participants at a dialogue series themed: “2022 National Budget Analysis on Climate and Environment,” that was held recently that industrialised countries and other multilateral agencies should increase the share of climate finance allocated to adaptation and resilience to Zimbabwe.
He said a Low-Emission Development Strategy (LEDS) study had shown that Zimbabwe requires US$7,88 billion by 2030 to help scale up community – led climate resilience actions while developing the capabilities of national and provincial institutions to plan, budget, report, finance and implement green initiatives at the local level.
Reyna Trust, Centre for Natural Resources Governance, WoMin, ZIMCODD and Reyna Trust organised the stakeholder’s dialogue series to help shape conversations on Zimbabwe’s national budget, external funding and private sector participation in mobilising resources to mitigate the impact of climate change in the country.
Climate change remains the biggest challenge facing Zimbabwe’s climate sensitive economy which was prone to droughts and floods.
Experts at the dialogue said the country needed to build climate resilience in sectors such as agriculture, water, energy, tourism and wildlife which are not only affected by climate change but also by the adverse effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Currently funding for climate action is coming from international funding partners and national public finance (Government). In order to successfully scale-up renewable energy in developing countries, it is clear that private sector investment must be at the forefront,” Dhlakama said.
“Public and blended finance has an important role to play in climate action in both developed and developing countries.”
Other experts said there was a need for the country to build capacity to manage climate risks and enhance resilience using home-grown solutions.
“The budget is not clearly reflective of its social responsiveness to climate change. There is need to improve budgeting so that it is climate sensitive and responsive to the vulnerable and marginalised communities of the society,” said Sydney Chisi, director of Reyna Trust.
“Climate justice and equity are important pillars in the national budget to improve economic growth and close the development gap between the poor and the rich, hence social indicators should be strengthened in the country’s development priorities, including NDS1 which informs national budgeting process.”
Zimbabwe and most other African countries still face severe liquidity challenges that make the mobilisation of domestic resources for climate action difficult.
The raging Covid-19 pandemic has further narrowed the fiscal space available to Zimbabwe and most other African countries to mobilise the desperately needed resources.
Experts at the dialogue series urged developed countries to meet their US$100 billion climate finance pledge to help the most vulnerable people in developing countries.
Zimbabwe and most other Southern African countries are among the worst-affected regions globally.
The countries are bearing the brunt of climate change yet they are the least polluters.
Experts urged Zimbabwe and other African countries to prioritise adaptation measures such as early warning systems, climate-resilient infrastructure, dryland agriculture, biodiversity protection, and resilient water sources.
SADC countries have recorded 36 percent of all weather-related disasters in Africa in the past four decades, according to UN reports.
These affected 177 million people, left 2,7 million homeless and inflicted damage in excess of US$14 billion.
Climate change continues to increase its frequency, intensity and duration with more destruction from cyclone-induced floods being felt in the region.
Tropical cyclones and severe thunderstorms have been the most destructive in Southern Africa, posing the greatest threat to infrastructure and displacing millions of people.
The weather related disasters have led to huge economic losses in the region. In 2019, Cyclone Idai cost Zimbabwe US$274 million and Mozambique US$3 billion, 1.6 percent and 19.6 percent of their respective GDPs that year.
“Zimbabwe and most Southern African countries urgently need adaptation measures and that means accessing and allocating more funding – a major challenge in itself,” a climate expert said.
The 2022 national budget allocated ZWL $52.4 billion towards climate change adaptation and mitigation projects across different sectors.
Development partners remain critical in the advancement of the climate change agenda in Zimbabwe as they contributed US$850.2 million with health and humanitarian work being at the top and Cyclone Idai recovery being in the top five.
Discussions at the dialogue series were part of conversations of COP27 which will be held in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt in November this year.